Walmart CEO sees supply chain challenges, inventory shortfalls into 2022


by Kim Souza, Talk Business & Politics (AR)

Sep 9, 2021


Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said Thursday (Sept. 9) supply chain problems and inventory shortages are as stark as he can remember in his 30 years in retail. He spoke candidly about the retail business during the 28th Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference.


On a positive note, McMillon said consumers are still spending money and he expects that will continue through a strong holiday season for retail. On the low end of the economic spectrum, he said wages are rising and families want to celebrate again and they will find a way to do it.


McMillon said if he could have changed one thing ahead of the pandemic, it would have been to have more capacity for grocery pickup and delivery. He said many stores are still crowded with enough space to stage online orders as the demand for the service remains high. He said capital investments $14 billion this year announced in February are aimed at enhancing the supply chain, bringing more automation and streamlining the flow of products. He said micro fulfillment centers like the one attached to Store 100 in Bentonville will help get products people want closer to where they live and shop, reducing delivery costs and keeping customers happy.


McMillon said the supply chain Walmart built in the 1990s that included grocery and fresh foods was a huge head start for the retail giant as more consumers start to buy their food and other consumables online. In more recent years...